How To Be A More Authentic Public Speaker – The Importance of Knowing Your Values

Our values are what drive us in life. Knowing your values as a speaker will help you become much more powerful on stage.

By knowing your values you’ll be fully aware of your strengths and can use them to become a better and more authentic public speaker. You want to be in your own power on stage. Public speaking may currently be an ordeal for you, so the idea is to play in your zone of greatness whenever you can.

So, how do you find out your values? There are many websites that host values determination assessments. I recently came across the Barrett Values Centre. There is a quick, interactive assessment on their site that you can try. The Barrett Values Centre will email you your results along with an analysis. (

There are many similar assessment tools online so do Google around to find one you like.

In effect, you will need to review a list of values and choose your top 10. Once you have done this, think about how they can apply to your public speaking journey.

Mine were:

  • Competence
  • Continuous learning
  • Creativity
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Fairness
  • Health
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Personal growth
  • Well-being (physical/emotional/mental/spiritual)

Not every value will relate directly to your public speaking journey. However, many will.

For example, when I look at my own list:

  • Entrepreneurial relates to the type of people to whom I enjoy public speaking
  • Creativity explains why I crafted a public speaking system
  • Fairness comes into play when I deliver my live training. I make sure every attendee has a chance to take centre stage and speak to the group
  • Competence will ensure that I always strive to deliver to a high standard
  • Continuous learning means that I’m constantly reading, attending training, and trying to find useful advice I can pass on to others.

Reflecting your values during the public speaking process

What about your own list? Which of the items can be included in your public speaking?

  • If you love creativity, how can you make your talks a little different or quirky so they reflect that value?
  • If one of your values is family, perhaps you will include stories and anecdotes about those close to you.
  • If it’s humour or fun, then you might want to include jokes (if appropriate) or amp up the entertainment with different voices, dialogue, and humorous expressions on your face. You could even show a funny YouTube clip that relates to your material.

By running through this exercise, you’ll start to see how you can accentuate your speeches with your own essence and write an authentic presentation that is infused with YOU! This way, it will be easier for you to relax and enjoy your time on stage, and your audience will get a much firmer grasp on who REALLY are.

If you completed the Barrett Values Assessment and examined the PDF you were sent, you’ll also see that the final page asks you which values you’d most like to demonstrate more fully in your life. (If you didn’t complete it yet, and you’ve never done a values assessment before, then go on…make some time and do it now!)

After reading the report, I decided that the values I need to exhibit more of were: caring, risk-taking, and humour. So by adding some element of these three values into my speech preparation and delivery, I can continue to stretch myself while still satisfying my core values.

So how could I exhibit these values in my own talks?

  • Caring: I could ask more questions of my audience and show the softer, more vulnerable side of my personality during anecdotes and stories.
  • Humour: I love jokes, and a while back I studied stand-up comedy. I now have a better idea of how to create jokes for my talks from scratch, rather than hoping I’ll randomly stumble upon some material that makes the audience laugh.
  • Risk taking: I could take more risks with my content and spend less time on scripting my speeches.

In fact, early on in my speaking journey, this is exactly what I did. I was used to scripting every speech fully and had developed a painstaking process for committing the lines to memory. Later I decided to move a little closer to the edge (for a steady Virgo like me who has perfectionist tendencies, that was quite a decision—I must confess!)

I made a commitment to speak more frequently and prepare talking points. My heart beat a little faster than normal and I definitely stumbled over a few words. However, I survived the experience and learned from it. These days, I script key moments of my talks, but not every single word.

Your turn – find your core values and then go a step further

Now, it’s your turn to show your audiences who you really are. Go ahead and find out your core values. Also, take the time to figure out which of your values you’d like to demonstrate more fully.

You might learn something surprising. By following these simple steps, you could become a more authentic public speaker and have more fun being YOU on stage.